Use The Bible To Form Your Opinions

It is becoming common place to see Christians getting into arguments with other Christians over the internet.

The arguing often gets into a scripture battle where people use the resources we have to find Bible verses to present their case.

Now that seems like a great thing and it can be. However some are using the Bible in reverse by taking their already formed opinions and using scripture to justify them.

What’s wrong with that you might say?

Well in some instances the verse that gets quoted has nothing to do with their argument and is being used out of context because they jumped in the middle of scripture without knowing what the scripture is referencing.

The proper way to use scripture is to read the Bible first then form your opinion based on scripture. Do this and you will be following God’s word.

It is crucial to understand God’s word and I will show you why in the Temptation of Jesus.

Matthew 4:1-11(English Standard Version)

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

Did you see that in the second temptation? Satan was using scripture to tempt Jesus. But Jesus of course knew the Word better than the enemy.

So remember that and know scripture that way the enemy can’t use it against you or even use you to present a distorted version of scripture to your brothers and sisters.

I have one more point I want to make in that we also need to handle disagreements better. Lets be the unified body of Christ and not cause division by lashing out at each other in anger over opinions on matters. Let’s discuss matters with love and compassion.

So that way the world sees us as the light and not more darkness.

Have a Blessed Week,

Chris.

COVID19 and a Call to Prayer

This has been on my heart for a while. All over the internet you see people both secular and Christian arguing over COVID19 statistics, numbers and the effect of the virus. The human and personal element has been taken out of the discussion.

God cares if just 1 suffers so let’s focus on how we can help.

So I ask that those who see this pray for the people who have been affected and will be affected by COVID19 both from the actual virus and from the fallout.

Also let’s pray for guidance on how we as the church can help those in need during this time and be the light in all that darkness.

Let the people recognize the church by our love and compassion.

Let’s separate ourselves from the world by showing how to do the right thing.

If someone calls you a sheep be proud of that because we are the sheep of the Good Shepard.

Besides the last thing we want to be in the end is a goat.*

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

* Matthew 25:31-46 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025%3A31-46&version=ESV

PS: Here is this week Heritage Baptist Church Online Service…

How Does God Talk To You?

My wife and I are were watching our church’s online service and in the opening portion the Pastor, the associate Pastor and Minster of Music were discussing how God speaks to them personally. They then asked the church to write down how we believe God speaks to them and share it.

The message inspired me to write this blog.

For those out there reading this I want you to know God wants to have a personal relationship with you.

He wants to talk to you and He wants us to listen.

God can speak to you in many forms. God knows us best and I believe God will speak to someone in the best way they will hear Him.

I know the Music Minister Willie said he hears God through music.

Me personally I have always been someone who thinks and thinks and thinks. My mind is always on and I can never shut it off. So God speaks to me through my thoughts. Sometimes a little thing here and there other times I get some very deep messages I truly feel are from the Lord.

I realize there is a negative connotation to someone who says, “God told me” or “God spoke to me”. I think a lot of that has to do with people’s own skepticism. The truth is even though we have faith we also struggle with skepticism.

Now I am not saying that you should believe every word someone says or just go along with what someone is saying but we should listen to our brothers and sisters.

You may ask but how do we know if what someone is saying is the truth?

Well since we don’t actually know if God has talked to that person we can’t write them off but there is ways to use discernment. This works both for the listener and the one who believes God is speaking to them.

First you can always ask the Holy Spirit, ask God if He is the one speaking to you or if the person speaking to you is telling the truth. Remember the Holy Spirit dwells within us as Christians.

If you’re still unsure see if what is being said matches with scripture. God is not going to tell anyone something that goes against His Word.

Know scripture and know God.

Know God and know truth.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Links to this week’s church video and the church’s website…

https://vimeo.com/428936365

https://www.heritageloves.com/

The Lack of Trust in the Church

I once got into a debate with a person in the comment section of a video. They were arguing against giving a church or pastor money when they asked. They argued if a church needed Bibles or anything like that he would send them the items but he won’t send them money. I countered him with different arguments but couldn’t change his view.
In the end we decided to end the debate as neither one of us was getting through to the other.
I’ve thought about that conversation many times since. I get hung up on that debate due to a trend recently I’ve seen of people holding a similar view or even more harshly where they refuse to give anything to a church or pastor.
When the subject comes to my mind I try to think of more points I could have made.
But recently it hit me, I had been focusing so much on the debate that I didn’t think about the core issue.
Those people don’t trust their brothers and sisters in Christ.
They believe that the church and pastor will misuse the money given to them. They don’t trust that the Holy Spirit will guide them on how to use it.
And you know what? Even if they do misuse the money. God will see it. God will handle it in His way.
He also sees what’s in your heart. He knows why you may not be giving. But if the reason is you don’t trust your brothers and sisters in Christ than that’s a shame.
Let God guide you on how you give. Sometimes He may guide you to give more than you want, sometimes less than you think you should, maybe He will guide you not give it all.
But ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, not your own will but His.
This topic is bigger than just giving money.
We as a church lack trust in general.
We use “discernment” as a license to judge. Often leading to us hiding the Light of God from the World.
Look at the reaction many are having about Kanye West. They immediately threw him under the bus and refused to believe his story.
There has been much written about Mr. West and his conversion, I am not focusing on just one man.
I want the church to look at themselves. If your friend was a person who immersed himself in evil and then gave his life to Christ would you want him to be judged in the same way we do to celebrity converts or others you don’t know?
Jesus pointed out to us how easy it is to love our friends* but we are told by Him we must also love our enemies.
So when an enemy becomes a brother or sister in Christ shouldn’t you love them just the same as a friend of yours who becomes a brother or sister in Christ?
This isn’t a new problem. Read the Bible. The people around Job believed he must have sinned and that caused him to lose everything, people didn’t trust Paul’s conversion to Christianity either.
I am not going to lie, I’m very guilty of this myself. I judge people, Lord help me I do.
I know it’s easy when confronted about judging others to say, “The Bible tells me I must use discernment.”
However we must remember the difference between discernment and judgment.
Yes the Bible tells us to discern. We must look at a situation and use wisdom to understand if it goes with the Word of God.
But that doesn’t mean you go and point out the flaws of a person and tell them they’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing or that they’re lying or that they’re going to Hell. That is judgment.
Discern whether or not your using discernment.
I saw this quote on Facebook, “The only One who had the authority to cast a stone, didn’t”.
That is something we truly must remember.
Trust your brothers and sisters. Help them, be with them, love them. Because God loves them.
And He loves you.
Have a Blessed Week,
Chris.
Here is some scripture that relates to this week’s blog…

James 2:14-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [a]your works, and I will show you my faith by [b]my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [c]dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made [d]perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was[e]accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+2%3A14-26&version=NKJV

Luke 21:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Widow’s Two Mites

21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.[a]So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings[b]for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+21%3A1-4&version=NKJV

*Luke 6:32-36 New King James Version (NKJV)

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, [a]hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+6%3A32-36&version=NKJV

Finish The Race

The Pastor at the Church I attend preached on 2 Timothy 4 on Sunday it really hit home with me, rather than writing a lot about it I am going to post the section he spoke about and give a few thoughts.

Paul’s Valedictory

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

No matter what you are going through, no matter the struggle, no matter what lies ahead.

Stay in the race.

Stay in the fight.
Keep the faith.
God is with you through it all.
He is the great I Am.
And He loves you forever and ever.
You will be rewarded in the end.
Go to Him, He is there.
Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Stay the Course

We hear that God has a plan for us. I of course agree with that. I do feel however it is up to us to follow Him and know His will in order for the plan to come to fruition. We have free will so it is up to us to follow God’s will.

We have seen many times in the Bible men of God ask God to relent and He does or gives a way to turn back to Him so He will change the outcome.

This is not in every scenario obviously. If God is firm on something He will make it happen.

Jesus knew this about the Father that is why when He was scared about His upcoming crucifixion He asked the Father if it was possible to remove the task ahead of Him. God sent an angel to comfort Him and He accepted the Will of the Father. Let’s follow that example.

Asking God is always okay, listen to Him and always follow His guidance.

If you hear silence then know sometimes His silence is the answer.

So in the silence we stay the course.

Always stay the course.

Even if the route changes we still must stay the course because the course is God’s will.

Listen and follow the Way.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Biblical Source:
Luke 22:39-44 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Prayer in the Garden

39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 [a]Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22%3A39-44&version=NKJV

Bridge the Gap

It is very important to reconcile people to the Word of God. There are many types of reasoning’s and situations that have shaped people’s opinion of God. It is up to us Christians to not just spread the Word of God but to explain it as well.

Today I am going to discuss three types of thought when it comes to God.

First is a lack of understanding. Many will take scripture out of context, not knowing the “who, what, where and why” of the scripture. If you are ignorant to what the Word means it’s easy to have an opinion based on emotion rather than understanding. That is why we Christians need to be ready to help those come to understand the Word or refer them to someone or a teaching that can help them.

Emotional opinions fall on both sides however.

It’s a shame when a person doesn’t understand scripture but has a strong opinion about the Word but it is dangerous to the faith when a Christian has the same issue.

Which leads to the next section.

Some may have an angry opinion of God and Christianity because of how they were treated by a church or someone of the Christian faith.

It’s up to us to listen to them, hear their pain and help them. We can explain to them the love of God and how all are welcomed in the church, the message of the Bible is about God’s love for us and His desire for us to love Him back. He gave us rules to follow to benefit our lives and honor Him but knowing we are flawed individuals we became justified through our faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

God loves us all no matter what and He wants to take our pain away. Help send His child back to Him.

The last type of thought I want to address is sinners relationship to God. Many think God hates sinners and He expects perfection, this leads to people thinking church is filled with self-righteous people and they don’t belong. This is obviously not the case we are all flawed. Any church that behaves in that way or gets wrapped up in the image of their church has lost its way.

If someone ever tells another to leave a church because they’re a sinner, God will walk right out of that church with them.

He surrounded Himself with sinners. Jesus wined, dined, talked and walked with sinners. Most importantly He healed those sinners.

If you, yourself while attending church feel certain types of sinners shouldn’t be there then you are in the right place.

Why?

Because you need Jesus to come back into your heart. Go find Him, He’s sitting right next those you’re judging. Come take a seat next to Him.

Remember the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18: 9-14

“9Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be [d]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Now for us Christians it is very important to study scripture and to know it. Listen to Biblical experts and know the context of the Word. Don’t speak based on emotions or an opinion based on your own views but do so by the Word and Spirit of God.

It’s extremely important to let the Holy Spirit guide you. If you do scripture will flow from you like never before. You will also know how to address someone, everyone is different in how they will receive information positively. Let the Spirit set the tone.

Bridge the Gap between those who are away from the Lord. Don’t just stand and look over to the other side. Figure out how to bring all those standing over there to God’s side.

The Lord is waiting.

Have a Blessed Week,

Chris

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+18&version=NKJV

God in Modern America

God is everywhere in America. Christianity is the number one religion, there are thousands of churches. He is mentioned in America’s most important documents, God’s word shaped our laws and foundation. Even “In God We Trust”, is on our money.

But unfortunately God is not in the hearts of many Americans.

The truth is Christians helped mold this nation more than any other group.

I highly suggest watching the PBS documentary, “God in America”, which is available here…https://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/view/

If you watch that series truly you will see how involved Christianity was in America throughout its history.

One point people always bring up to argue against having God’s influence on the nation is the separation of church and state but what many don’t realize is that law was put in place to protect the church from the government interfering and discriminating against churches. The law was based on a letter written by Thomas Jefferson.

Now groups are using the constitution to attack the church and force them to follow their beliefs.

The government is supposed to be neutral to religion not force them to follow secular views and laws.

For those who wish to read the letter here is a copy of the original letter written by Thomas Jefferson

“To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.”

Lord I pray for the spiritual revival of this nation. We see more darkness in this country than ever before. Guide us God to be the light of the world as You asked to be. In Jesus name I pray for Your will to be done.

Amen.

Have a blessed week,

Chris.

Sources:
https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html